Oddsmakers Predict High Scores and Blowouts in Football This Weekend

If you like a lot of scoring and big blowouts in football, this is your week.

On Monday night, expect plenty of points by both sides in the Chiefs-Rams game. Oddsmakers have set an over-under total on the game at a staggering 63 ½. That is the highest total in the history of the N.F.L. The average total score in an N.F.L. game this season is about 46.

The biggest factor in setting a total is the teams’ ability to score. And the Chiefs and the Rams can. Kansas City is averaging 35.3 points a game; the Rams are at 33.5.

“They are two of the most efficient offenses we’ve seen in the last 10 years,” said Scott Cooley, spokesman for the betting site BetDSI. “The rate at which they are scoring is phenomenal.”

Cooley added that Chiefs Coach Andy Reid “kind of reinvented his entire playbook” and that now that he has quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Reid “has opened up even more.”

Cooley called the Rams’ Sean McVay “as creative as any coach we’ve seen in his second year.”

And that is just the offense. The state of the defenses matters too in the over-under.

“The Chiefs’ defense is nothing to write home about,” Cooley said. “The Rams on paper have a good defense, but they’ve given up a lot of points this season as well.”

When the big number was first posted earlier in the week, the game was scheduled to be played in Mexico City. At that point, the betting traffic was all one way, Cooley said.

“A lot of the pro bettors were taking the under because of the field conditions, which can affect footing,” he said. “When you play at altitude, especially with two young quarterbacks, there would be an adjustment.”

After the N.F.L. moved the game to Los Angeles on Tuesday because of the poor field conditions in Mexico, the high number looked realistic again.

“Smart guys are going to bet it under,” said D. J. Fields, head trader at the BookMaker website. “The public will probably bet it over.”

Bookmakers said the only team that could compete in scoring with the Chiefs and the Rams is New Orleans; a Rams-Saints game earlier in the year had a 57 over-under. A Rams-Saints playoff matchup is a strong possibility; it too should be a points-fest.

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Alabama is one of many top college football teams who are big, big favorites on Saturday.CreditButch Dill/Associated Press

In college football, it is the point spreads that are huge this weekend, as many top teams are taking some breathers.

Among top-10 teams, Michigan is a 28-point favorite over Indiana; Clemson is 28 ½ over Duke; Oklahoma is 36 over Kansas; Georgia is 42 over Massachusetts; Louisiana State is 43 over Rice. And topping the list is Alabama, a mind-boggling 51 ½-point favorite over the Citadel, a Football Championship Subdivision team that has lost this season to Chattanooga and Furman.

Setting those huge lines is not just a matter of determining how much better one team is than another.

“Whatever Alabama wants to beat them by, they’ll beat them by,” said Ray Mitchell, head live trader at BookMaker. “If someone came to Alabama and said, ‘You’ve got to win by 65,’ they would win by 70 plus.”

So the question becomes, how soon does Alabama start easing up? That’s hard for oddsmakers to predict.

“It’s super tricky,” Mitchell said. “You look at what these coaches have done in the past. It’s really a pure guess; you put something reasonable up. You don’t have nearly as much confidence in your number. There’s so much variance in a game like this. Alabama can do whatever they want.”

Of course, even if Alabama does bring in some backups, the margin may keep climbing.

“Is Alabama’s second team three touchdowns better than Citadel’s first-team players?” Cooley said. “It’s probably safe to say that they are.”

Some teams are a little more predictable in when they run up the score.

“One team that sticks out to me is Clemson,” Cooley said. “Dabo Swinney seems to never really let his foot off the gas. They put 77 up on Louisville. Even in the second half, they’re calling long pass plays.”

“L.S.U. is more of a grind-it-out team,” Mitchell said. “They enjoy running for 6 yards.”

There won’t be a deluge of bettors for any of these games. “People are scared off by big spreads,” Cooley said. “It does deter people. This week is not a good week for the books or the fans.”

If you’re not a gambler, these blowout games may not seem appetizing to watch. Bettors agree.

“The more attractive a game is to the general fan, the more attraction you get from bettors,” Mitchell said. “Except the professionals, but they make up 1, 2 percent of the players.”

Maybe taking the Citadel at plus 51 ½ is not risky enough for you. Maybe you think the Bulldogs can shock the world and win the game outright. Although point-spread betting is the most popular in the United States, books are increasingly offering straight-win betting. The Citadel is 2,000 to 1.

If sure money is your kind of thing, bet on 10-0 Alabama. You’ll only have to bet $10,000 to win a buck.

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